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Fasting for kids

The Gates of Paradise are opened during Ramadhaan, while the Gates of Hell are closed.

Source : IslamWeb / 27 Jun 2014

The month of Ramadhaan, which Muslims fast every year, is the best of all months in the sight of Allaah, the Almighty. In this month, the Heavenly Books were revealed to Ibraaheem, Moosaa and 'Eesaa, may Allaah exalt their mention. The Quran was also revealed to our Prophet Mohammad, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, in laylet al-Qadr (the Night of Decree), which is one of the nights of that great month.

In this month, Allaah supported the Muslims with many victories, like the Battle of Badr in 2 A.H. (624 A.D.), and the conquest of Makkah in 8 A.H. (630 A.D.). After these victories people accepted Islam in large numbers.

Fasting in Ramadhaan

Fasting in Ramadhaan is obligatory on Muslims; it is one of the five pillars of Islam. Allaah imposed this duty upon Muslims in 2. A.H (624 A.D.).

Allaah says (what means):

"{O believers! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may learn self-restraint} [Quran 2:183].

In obedience to Allaah's command, Muslims abstain from eating and drinking, from dawn to sunset, during Ramadhaan.

Allaah says (what means):

{And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn appears to you. Then complete your fast till the night comes.} [Quran 2:187].

The Crescent of Ramadhaan:

Allaah says (what means):

{Ramadhaan is the month in which was sent down the Quran, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting.} [Quran 2:185].

Ramadhaan starts when the new moon (crescent) is seen after the sunset of the 29th of Sha'baan. If the new moon does not appear, we complete the month of Sha'baan thirty days. Likewise, Ramadhaan ends with the birth of the new moon of Shawwaal.

The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: "Begin your fast with it's (the moon) sighting, and break it (the fast) with its sighting. If you do not see it due to clouds, continue your fast for thirty days." [Muslim]

Who is required to fast?

Fasting is obligatory upon the fulfillment of the following:

-Islam: Fasting is not obligatory on a disbeliever.

-Sanity: The insane is exempted.

-Puberty: Children are exempted, but they should be trained.

-Residency: Travelers are exempted.

-Health: The sick who cannot endure fasting is exempted.

It is desirable that, as long as they are able, children fast all Ramadhaan or a part of it, so that they get used to fasting.

Acts Nullifying Fast

- Eating or drinking intentionally during daytime.

- Deliberate vomiting.

Acts Permitted During Fasting

- Having a shower.

- Rinsing the nose and mouth with water without exaggeration so it does not reach the stomach.

- Applying eye-drops.

Sunnah Acts and Etiquettes of Fasting

- Having the pre-dawn meal (suhoor): It strengthens the Muslim, provides him with energy and eases the burden of fast. The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said: "Take a preـdawn meal because there is a blessing in it." [Al-Bukhaari].

It is desirable to have the pre-dawn meal as late before dawn as possible.

- Supplication when breaking the fast: When breaking the fast, one should say the same words that the Prophet himself (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) used to say: "O Allaah, for You I fasted and with Your sustenance I have broken the fast" [Abu Daawood].

- Frequent recitation of the Quran: During Ramadhaan, one should increase the performance of acts like the recitation of the Quran, mentioning Allaah, supplicating Him, giving charity ...etc.

- Maintaining relationships with relatives: During Ramadhaan, one should visit his relatives and be kind to them. - Giving charity to the poor

- Shunning backbiting, tale baring, lies and obscene language

- Hastening to break the fast: It is recommended to hasten to break your fast as soon as the sun sets. The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said: "My nation will continue to be upon virtue as long as they hasten in breaking the fast."  [AlـBukhaari]

- Avoiding whatever causes Allaah's Wrath: One should neither speak words nor commit acts that do not conform with the etiquette of fasting. A Muslim should neither abuse nor insult others, nor should he involve into arguments with them.

Those Who are Exempted From Fasting

1 The sick

2 The traveler

3 The elderly who physically unable fasting

4 The pregnant woman or a breast feeding mother who feels that she may cause harm to herself or her baby if she fasts

5 The woman during her menstrual period or post-natal bleeding

The Ruling of Breaking the Fast

If a Muslim breaks his/her fast – due to an excuse such as sickness, traveling, pregnancy or breast feeding – he/she must make up for every day he/she misses as soon the situation changes. This is called Qadhaa' (compensation).

But if someone cannot make up the days he/she misses – such as an elderly or the patient suffering from an incurable chronical disease that prevents him for fasting he/she must provide an indigent with a meal similar to that which one usually eats himself meal for every day they break the fast.

The Virtues of Fasting

The following are some of the many virtues of fasting:

-The Gates of Paradise are opened during Ramadhaan, while the Gates of Hell are closed.

-Whoever observes fast during the month of Ramadhaan out of sincere faith, hoping to attain Allaah's rewards, then all his past sins will be forgiven.

-The invocation of the fasting Muslim is accepted. The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said: "There are three people whose supplications are answered: the fasting person until he breaks his fast…" [At-Tirmithi]

The Benefits of Fasting

1 It teaches patience

2 It strengthens the body and cures some diseases

3 It comforts the stomach.

4 It teaches us how to be merciful and compassionate with the poor.

5 It teaches us to organize our eating and drinking habits

6 It increases our good deeds.

Taraaweeh (Optional Night) Prayer

This is a prayer performed every night of Ramadhaan after 'Ishaa' (the night prayer). It consists of eleven Rak'ahs or more. The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, urged the Muslims to perform it, saying:

"He who observes prayer at night during Ramadhaan, out of faith and hoping for reward from Allaah; his previous sins would be forgiven." [Al-Bukhaari]

The Taraaweeh prayer may be performed after 'Ishaa' prayer until dawn. It is to be performed by sets of two Rak'ahs. In each Rak'ah, we recite the Faatihah and a portion from the Quran. Muslims perform the Taraaweeh prayer in congregation in the mosque, but it can be performed individually.

Zakaatul-Fitr (Charity on breaking the fast)

It is obligatory on every Muslim, young or old, male or female who can afford it for himself and his/her dependants.

It is to be given before the `Eed prayer, otherwise it is considered an ordinary charity rather than Zakaatul-Fitr.

The Recipients of Zakaatul-Fitr

This is to be given to the poor and the needy to make them happy on the `Eed, and to spread love and compassion among Muslims.

Laylat Al-Qadr (The Night of Decree)

It is one of the odd numbered nights of the last ten nights of Ramadhaan. It is the best night of the entire year. During the last ten nights of Ramadhaan, the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, exerted his best efforts in worship and mention of Allaah.

Allaah says (what means):

{We have indeed revealed this (Message) in the Night of Decree and what Will explain to you what the Night of Decree is? The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months. Therein come down the angels and the Spirit by Allaah's permission, on every errand: Peace!... This until the rise of dawn}

It is desirable to spend this night in prayer, mention of Allaah, worship, asking for forgiveness and invocation. The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, exhorted the Muslims to observe acts of worship during it as he said: "He who observed prayer on Laylat Al-Qadr out of faith and seeks reward from Allaah, all his previous sins would be forgiven." [Muslim]


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